- The arrival of an open-topped DB12 is no surprise but still a welcome addition.
- The DB12 Volante’s power-operated fabric roof folds in just 14 seconds.
- With the roof up, the 671-hp V-8 gives a 202-mph top speed.
As night follows day, so the open-topped version of an Aston sports car arrives shortly after the coupe. In this case, that means the entirely predictable, yet also entirely beautiful, DB12 Volante, which is the convertible version of the regular DB12 we drove for the first time last month in Europe.
As with the coupe, Aston is describing the Volante as a “super tourer,” intended to combine the performance of a high-end sports car with the grand-touring capabilities of a traditional Aston Martin. Mechanically it is unchanged from the fixed-roof version, using the same twin-turbo 4.0-liter AMG-sourced V-8 engine making peaks of 671 horsepower and 590 pound-feet. The option of a V-12 engine is no longer available; Aston is reserving that for the forthcoming replacement for the DBS Superleggera.
Yet even with only four liters of capacity and eight cylinders to call on, the DB12 Volante will still be toweringly fast. Aston claims it will be capable of a 3.6-second zero-to-60-mph time, which is just one-tenth slower than the corresponding time for the coupe. Both versions of the DB12 have identical 202-mph top speeds, although the Volante will only be able to hit that peak with the roof in place. According to Aston’s figures, the convertible is 240 pounds heavier than the coupe, meaning it should be around 4350 pounds when we get it on the scales.
The Volante’s roof is an eight-layer fabric top that hides entirely beneath the rear deck once lowered. Toplessness suits the DB12 particularly well, especially for those who aren’t especially fond of the black trim that extends rearward from the coupe’s greenhouse. The Volante loses that entirely, and the roof-down profile is compelling in its simplicity. Four convertible-top fabric colors will be available: black, red, blue, and black/silver. Aston says that the roof takes just 14 seconds to open and 16 seconds to close, with this possible at speeds of up to 31 mph.
The Volante will be offered solely with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive, with reactions sharpened by an electronically controlled locking differential at the rear. Adaptive dampers are standard and claimed to have a 500 percent increase in “bandwidth of force distribution” compared to the ones used by the DB11 Volante. The new Volante will be softer than the coupe, having different rear springs and what Aston describes as a “dedicated damper tune”; it is also claimed to have 5 percent better torsional rigidity than the DB11 Volante.
The most significant change for the DB12 Volante is the same as on the coupe, the arrival of a redesigned and higher-quality cabin featuring both improved ergonomics but also the use of a touchscreen interface rather than the cumbersome turn-and-click controller of the DB11. While the mechanical and structural transformation between DB11 and DB12 is effectively a heavy facelift, this is one area where the new Volante should feel like an entirely new car.
The DB12 Volante will make its debut during Monterey Car Week this week and will go into production in time for the first buyers to take delivery before the end of the year. Official pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but we’re told to expect it to be somewhere around the $265,000 mark in the U.S. That’s a relatively modest increase over the $236,000 DB11 Volante, one that looks justified given the scale of the improvements that have been wrought.
Senior European Correspondent
Our man on the other side of the pond, Mike Duff lives in Britain but reports from across Europe, sometimes beyond. He has previously held staff roles on UK titles including CAR, Autocar and evo, but his own automotive tastes tend towards the Germanic, owning both a troublesome 987-generation Porsche Cayman S and a Mercedes 190E 2.5-16.